[Director] Lauren [Greenfield] doesn’t shy away from what is really going on in these womens’ [sic] lives. As viewers, we’re shown an insider’s perspective of what life is like at an in-patient clinic: the weigh-ins and vitals, the meals, the “resource” shakes given to the girls when they aren’t gaining weight, the therapy sessions, the family therapy sessions, the community meetings, the nutritionist meetings, the profound impact the diseases have on their families who feel so helpless, the girly antics in their bedrooms that make us giggle, the friendships and alliances … and the mistrust among staff and the community.
THIN: The HBO Documentary. Let There Be Light, 1/9/09.
Thin preview at Lauren Greenfield Photography
I forgot to eat one day last week. Or 2. And the week before I forgot at least twice, maybe 3 times.
When I was in high school, my mother said to me once with all seriousness, over a can of green beans, That is not food for you to eat, how dare you eat that food. I think her position was that it was hurricane food. I started smoking that year.
When Mister and I were first dating, he called after dark to ask if I’d had dinner. My answer? Dinner? Wait, did I eat today? If I were busy reading or writing or staring at the moon, I’d smoke a cigarette and intend to eat later. And forget. Mister’s solution was to show up at my apartment with a bag of groceries.
Then I learned how to eat. Mostly. I still forgot sometimes. I’d get annoyed with myself for getting hungry in the afternoon when I didn’t think I should be hungry. A therapist introduced me to something she assured me humans had been doing for some time: the afternoon snack. A fucking revelation.
I used to be, back then, Thin. I didn’t think I was. I didn’t own a scale and judged my weight by how many ribs and bones were visible, the deep depressions in my collarbones. I avoided photographs. But because I had “thick” thighs and broad shoulders and a round face, no one suspected, I thought, that I looked for my ribs and panicked if my hip bones weren’t sharp. I could chow through 2 entrees at dinner because I probably hadn’t eaten that day, or much for 2 days, and/or wouldn’t eat again for at least a day. Kind of like a snake.
I wasn’t stupid though. I knew when I got pregnant that I was technically underweight and therefore could be considered high-risk and in need of concerted medical intervention which I was not in my plans. Ever. When I went for my first prenatal appointment I’d gotten up to almost 130lb. At 5’9″. Just enough.
I ate. And ate. Gained. Lost. Gained. Lost. Then started feeling not-well and gained. A little more. Then to me a ridiculous amount.
Then the sickness turned and for the first time in years, I lost my appetite during certain flares for a day, 4, a couple weeks. I’d force down a meal and a half a day because I had to. I found things to do other than eat. And slowly slid into forgetting to eat, and even more slowly learned why I could do that and so well.
It’s not really an eating disorder.
Do I judge others by unreasonable standards? No. Just myself. Every line, spot, pore, dimple of cellulite, hangnail, lump, jiggle. Does ___ need to lose weight because I cannot see her hip bones? Hell no. What kind of crazy shit is that? But I resented my hip bones for locking me into a size 8, never able to get to a 6 or 4. I called myself fat with no awareness of irony or sickness. Who gets discouraged for being thin? Who says, You’re too skinny; eat this ice cream? To a woman? You have to be skeletal, unable to stand, suicidal, with lanugo and low blood pressure to be told you’ve gone too far and that depends on where you are. [For example, "yogarexia."] Models are thin. Actresses are thin. Newscasters are thin. Fat is Bad, Thin is Good unless you’re too thin which means you must be “messed up.” I weighed around 120-125 pounds from sophomore year in undergrad until 29 and then at a few points after. In my drinking year-and-a-half in Chicago, I got most of my calories from alcohol. I had snacks instead of meals. If I went out to dinner, I filled up and might not eat for 1-2 days after, which no one knew because no one asked. No one in the late 80s-90s questioned if a woman, young, was thin. What the fuck else should/could she be?
I started dieting this year. That got dangerous in about 2 weeks. If I got to the end of the day and my app said I’d only net 400 calories or warned me that I was Not Getting Enough Calories! I felt satisfied, accomplished, in control. Each ounce gained was confirmation I couldn’t/can’t do shit right and cannot possibly have an ED. But it’s become clear I have some (more?) of that disordered thinking.
I get to 3p and realize I forgot to eat again and Resource myself like the borderline anorexic I will never not quite be.